Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland Inc. held a ceremony dedicating four new homes in the Southgate Hills subdivision with the new inhabitants there to share their joy with friends, families and benefactors.
“Today four families are going to be receiving keys to a new home and that is such a celebration,” said Pastor Bob Zwarych of the Joy Christian Fellowship. “I get to give you the keys of life contained in God’s word.
“Psalm 127 says unless the Lord builds the house, the builders labored in vain,” he said. “I know for a fact the builders of these four homes have not labored in vain, because assuredly the Lord has built these four homes. Granted, he’s used a lot of different people to get His work done, but we are his co-laborers.”
Cindy Slater, representing Whirlpool Corporation’s operations in Cleveland, talked of the company’s commitment to the Habitat mission.
“Our commitment was to provide a new refrigerator and range to every home built,” Slater said.
She noted the company began its Habitat participation in 2004, becoming the first cornerstone partner by committing $25 million in products in 2005.
“Today’s commitment totals nearly $65 million,” Slater said. “We have also established a goal to support every Habitat home built around the world through product donation, financial support or volunteerism. We are honored to have been a part of seeing these dreams come true for these families and we look forward to seeing homeownership for other deserving families in the future.”
Tabatha Peels’ family is one who will soon move into to their brand-new home.
Joined by her husband, James, and their son she spoke for all four families addressing the celebration.
“The gray house is ours,” she began with a nervous laugh.
“I want to say thank you for giving all of us this amazing opportunity,” Peels said. “We all have been through so much through this long process, having to take the good neighbor classes as well as classes showing us how to be great neighbors and good homeowners.”
She also talked of having to participate with 300 “sweat equity” hours by working at Habitat events and at their new homes.
“This opportunity has given me a reason to feel safe,” Peels said with a quivering voice. “It’s giving us a warm and safe place to put our son, to be at night in a neighborhood that is safe, to let our children go out and play.”
She said she would not know how to have a home where they would not have to deal with “unwanted guests.”
Tami Croft with the Family Advocate Committee presented the families with gift bags including information about the area, a bag of groceries, first aid kits and family portraits.
Andy Anderson, president of the Bradley Sunrise Rotary Club, closed the event by remembering the works of the late Bob Sain, who helped begin the local Habitat program 20 years ago.
“We would be remiss without mentioning Bob Sain,” Anderson said. “It was two weeks ago when we had a dedication that Bob Sain attended. He played golf on Thursday, planted flowers on Saturday and on Sunday he went to his eternal reward.”
He said Sain was a part of a group “that had a vision for Habitat and wanted to make a difference in the community.”
“Let’s remember Bob and his contributions to all we are doing out here today,” Anderson said.
Habitat Executive Director Matt Carlson said the Southgate Hills project will eventually be the host for 25 homes.
“But this is not the only area we are working on,” Carlson said. “We do them as we can and each one is a blessing.”
Habitat for Humanity of Cleveland welcomes anyone who can provide assistance physically or financially to contact them at 423-476-6947.